Wine club notes:
There was a time when California wineries sold Chardonnay under French names.
Some labeled their bottles “Chablis,” while others opted for “White Burgundy.” This, of course, infuriated the French. Over time, with much cajoling and no small amount of litigation, non-French wine estates abandoned the use of those words, opting for the simple grape varietal name – which still sounds French and somewhat sexy.
In those earlier years, Australian vintners also bottled their own versions of “Chablis” and “White Burgundy.” Only in the land Down Under, those wines were made not from Chardonnay, but rather from Semillon. In fact, for many years, Semillon was the most widely planted white grape variety in that country.
Perhaps the best expression of Aussie Semillon and Chardonnay is achieved when the two varieties are blended. The 2011 Hilldale Rise “Sem-Chard” is a tasty example, at once rich and refreshing, in a word, one might call it delicieux.
Grape Composition: Semillon & Chardonnay Aging Vessels: Assorted Oak Barrels
Grape Source: Select vineyards in South Eastern Australia
Aromas and Flavors: Buttered apple, lemon, melon, vanilla and toast
When to Drink: Now through 2015
This Aussie beauty offers notes of buttered apple, lemon, melon, vanilla and toast.
Food pairing suggestions: shellfish, or creamy clam chowder.
I will admit, I’m a bit behind on reviewing this wine. I didn’t get a chance to jot down my first impressions as I drank the first glass. I’ve been working on a paper for class that has been driving me crazy. Anyway…In the name of stress drinking I dub thee “Sem-Chard” worthy. Except I hate the term “Sem-Chard.” It makes it sound like the wine had some sort of developmental disability. You’re drinking wine here people. Say the full name. Or at least give the good old college try. This isn’t a Bud or Natty Boh where it is acceptable to use pet names for cheap beers.
Name rant aside…this wine did have pleasant hints of apple, vanilla and a wonderful oaky taste. I love a good oaky Chardonnay. Un-oaked Chardonnays? Rubbish. I drink Chardonnays because they have a pleasant woodsy, hang out in the backyard feel to them.
Food pairings? I suppose some shellfish would go well with it. Some sea scallops seared in lemon butter would be fabulous. What did I pair it with? French toast. Why yes, yes I did drink this for breakfast. Don’t hate. You would have too if you knew that this is the perfect Semillon-Chardonnay to pair with French toast. You’re just jealous you didn’t think of it first.
On a scale of “this tastes like piss” to “oops, I just drank the whole bottle” I would give this a “Yes I did drink the entire bottle with breakfast. It was a lot of French toast! And home fries, and scrambled eggs… Gotta wash it all down with something.” Would I buy it again? Definite maybe. Australian wines are always hit or miss for me. If I came across it at the liquor store I’d definitely remember it and if I was being indecisive would probably grab a bottle because I know it’s pretty decent.
Final Grade: B+